Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mt Kenya Sirimon Route - Guide To Trekking Mt Kenya Sirimon Trek

Sirimon Route A popular alternative to Naro Moru, this route has more spectacular scenery, greater flexibility and a gentler rate of ascent; although it is still easy to climb too fast, so allow five days for the trek. It’s well worth considering combining it with the Chogoria Route for a six â€"to seven â€"day traverse that will really bring out the best of Mt Kenya. Nanyuki is the best launching point for this route. Best Sleeping Places on Mt Kenya Sirimon Route Old Moses Hut (dm US$ 10) at 3300m and Shipton’s Camp (dm US$12) at 4200m serve trekkers on this route. They’re both booked through the Mountain Rock Lodge (, near Naro Moru. Depending on how you ascend or descend, you may also sleep at Austrian Hut (dm Ksh 1000), which is almost an hour below the summit .it is booked and paid for at any park gate. Guides and Porters In Nanyuki, guides operating out of Mt Kenya Mountaineering Information Office (Mt Kenya Paradise Hotel) are generally quite reliable, but ask to see their KWS registration and go over your planned route in detail. the people at Montana Trek and information center (Jambo House Hotel, Lumumba Rd ,Nanyuki)seem to know their staff but are a bit more pushy. Guides/porters are also available from Mountain Rock Lodge for US$ 15/12 per day. As with Naro Moru route, they prefer it if you take all-inclusive packages. Sirimon Route Mt Kenya Trek It is 15 km from Nanyuki to the Sirimon gate and transport is included in with pre-booked packages .otherwise take a matatu towards Timau or Meru, or arrange a lift from town. From the gate, it’s about 9Km through the forest to Old Moses Hut (3300m) where you can spend the first night. On the second day, you could head straight through the moorland for Shipton’s Camp, but it is worth taking an extra day to go via Liki North Hut (3993 m)a tiny place on the floor of a classic glacial valley. The actual hut is a complete wreck and is only meant for porters, but it is a good campsite with a toilet and stream nearby. You can also walk further up the hill to help acclimatize. On the third day ,head straight up the western side of the Liki North Valley and over the ridge into Mackinder’s Valley ,joining the direct route about 1 ½ hours in. After crossing the Liki River, follow the path for another 30 minutes until you reach the bunkhouse at Shipton’s Camp (4200m), which is set in a fantastic location right below Batian and Nelion. The camp is also within sight of two glaciers, which can also be heard cracking. From Shipton’s you can push straight for Point Lenana (4895), a tough-three-to four hour slog via Harris Tarn and the tricky north face approach ,or take the Summit Circuit in either direction around the peak to reach Austrian Hut (4790m),about one hour below the summit. The left-hand (east) route past Simba Col is shorter but steeper while the right-hand (west) option, takes you on the Harris Tarn trail nearer the main peaks. From Austrian Hut take the standard southwest traverse up to Point Lenana. If you are spending the night here, it is worth having a wander around to catch the views up to Batian and down the Lewis Glacier into Teleki Valley, as well as the spectacular ice cave by the Curling Pond. Chogoria Route This route is justly famous for crossing some of the most spectacular and varied scenery on Mt Kenya, and is often combined with the Sirimon route (usually as the descent).the only disadvantage is the long distance between Chogoria village and the park gate. Allow at least five days for a trek here. Side trips to Lake Michaelson and Lake Ellis would take a couple of extra days. Sleeping in Sirimon mt Kenya climbing and trekking route The only option besides camping is on this route is Meru Mt Kenya Lodge(s/tw US$22/44), a group of comfortable cabins administered by Meru County Council (Kenyatta Hwy, Meru) Guides and Porters The best place to organize guides and porters is the Mount Kenya Chogoria Guides and porters Association (Tel 064-22096) at the Transit Motel near Chogoria Village. Guide sand porters aren’t available beyond the Chogoria Forest Station. If you want porters you want to walk the whole stretch between Chogoria and the park gate, you may be charged two extra days’ wages â€"make sure you negotiate everything before you leave. The Sirimon Trek The main reason this route is more popular as a descent is the 29Km bottom stage .while it is not overly steep, climbing upwards for that distance is much harder than descending it. Either way, it’s a beautiful walk through the farmland, rainforest and bamboo zones. You can camp near the Forest Station 6 Km out of town. But you’ll still have 23 Km to walk the next day. Transport is available from the village but it will cost you, and even a Land Rover may struggle in the wet. Camping is possible at the gate, or you can stay nearby in Meru Mt Kenya Lodge (3000m)- with transport to town available and a small shop selling beer ,which is also popular with people coming down. On the second day ,head up through the forest to the trailhead (camping is possible here).from here it’s another 7 Km over rolling foothills to the hall Tarns area and Minto’s Hut (4300m).like Liki North this nasty hut is only intended for porters, but the area makes a descent campsite. It has a stream for water and a long-drop loo which, incidentally, finally has a door (though it won’t close!) don’t use tarns here to wash anything, as they have already been polluted by careless trekkers. From here you follow the trail up alongside the stunning Gorges Valley (another possible descent route for the adventurous) and scramble up some steep ridges to meet the Summit Circuit, which can take you either direction. It is possible to go straight for the north face or southwest ridge of Point Lenana, but stopping at Austrian Hut or detouring to Shipton’s camp is probably a better idea and gives you more time to enjoy the scenery. Summit Circuit While everyone who summits Pt Lenana gets a small taste of the spectacular Summit Circuit, few trekkers ever grab the beautiful beast by the horns and hike it’s entire length .the trail encircles the main peaks of Mt Kenya between the 4300m and 4800m contour lines and offers challenging terrain, fabulous views and a splendid opportunity to familiarize yourself with this complex mountain. It is also a fantastic way to further acclimatize before bagging Pt Lenana. On of the many highlights along the route is a peek at Mt Kenya’s southwest face, with the long, thin Diamond Colouir leading up to the gates of the Mists between the summits of Batian and Nelion. Depending on your level of fitness, this route can take between four and nine hours. Some fit souls have bagged Pt Lenana (from Austrian Hut or Shipton’s Camp) and then completed the Summit Circuit the same day. The trail can be deceptive at times, especially when the fog rolls in, and some trekkers have become seriously lost between Tooth Col and Austrian Hut. It is imperative to take a guide if attempting this route. Robert is a tour consultant with landmark safaris in Kenya. Click here to plan high altitude bliss

No comments: